The mystique of the No. 2 child

The mystique of the No. 2 child

My younger son, Lucien, turns four today - which leads me to think of the mystique of the second child.

Born into a world where there has always been someone else competing for his parents' attention, the second child is, by circumstance - if not nature - a survivor.

The fact that the second child exists at all is a victory, given that the parents could well have sworn off having more children after the shock of caring for their first baby.

With mum and dad having to spread their time between two tykes, the second-born more often than not adapts and evolves differently from the firstborn, who was an only child (read: king or queen) for at least nine months of his life.

And, while everything was a revelation with the first child, the second child's milestones often go unremarked, passing in the shadow of the former's accomplishments.

In this environment of muted pride and approval, No. 2 is rarely allowed to inflate his ego unchecked.

The flip side? We are more relaxed in parenting them and they get the benefit of our wisdom gleaned from experimenting on No. 1.

Playing second fiddle to the erstwhile emperors and empresses born before them, second children are often said to develop a higher emotional quotient, or EQ.

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